Document 22670

02 : 07
Ju ly 2010
Monthly Bulletin of
Agricultural News
a compilation of spices & other riculture news
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published by
Dr. V A Parthasarathy
Kerala expects good spice yield
Black pepper has a savory past
Good market for Lankan spices
Malaysia becomes second largest buyer of Indian spices
High rates of spices spoil menu
Spice board to start two spice parks in Rajasthan
AIIMS doctors claim turmeric can cure epilepsy
'Curry for sheep could curb global warming'
Kerala all set to shed numero uno status in Pepper
Ginger, Cumin antioxidant activity studied
High turmeric prices encourage farmers to shift from chilli, maize
Interview with Spices Board Chairman V J Kurien
Pepper touches historic high
Kerala farmers reap dividends as crop prices hit record high
Cinnamon for good health, say scientists
Even small farmers can benefit from newer technologies
Horticulture mission sets sights high
Rs. 5.28 crore for horticulture mission
Poor rainfall could harm pepper output
compiled & prepared by
Dr. Sushma Devi C K
Jayarajan K
Riyas K P
Indian Institute of Spices
(Indian Council of
Agricultural Research)
Calicut-673012, Kerala, India
Organic farming area grows to 10.5 lakh hectares: Pawar
Eye imaging could detect Alzheimer's disease earlier
How to turn your food to medicines
Alternative medicine may help in preventing swine flu: MOHFW
Garden crops to meet nutrition demand
Partnership with African countries can solve India’s food security needs
Mushrooms used to make eco‐friendly packaging
Rajasthan to promote hybrid seeds
Sugarcane Seed Farm scripting success in Pandalam
Alarm over chemicals in veggies
Agriculture Department likely to launch website to help farmers
Pak second largest producer of buffalo meat and milk
NDDB gears up for 2nd White Revolution
IISR in print
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Kerala expects good spice yield
30 July, 2010 / Business Standard
Kochi: The moderate monsoon in Kerala
has been good for most crops and adequate
rains has provided the perfect platform for
the agriculture sector. According to
analysts, this would be a good season for
both edible and cash crops.
The progress of the monsoon has enthused
natural rubber growers and production is
in full swing. Rubber Board sources said
production would be up by around 6‐7 per
cent and the existing high prices will
encourage growers to invest in plantations.
Production increased 5 per cent in June to
57,000 tonnes against 54,255 tones in June,
09, according to the latest data.
N Radhakrishnan, former president of
Cochin Rubber Merchants Association said
production will increase, as tapping is in full
swing in major rubber cultivating areas. But
the slow pace in re‐planting of old trees are
serious concerns.
KM Michel, president, Cardamom Growers
Association said the rainfall pattern in high
ranges is good and spices, especially
cardamom and pepper, are expected to
have a good yield.
According to his estimates there might be 5‐
10 per cent increase in production. During
the last season, around 10,000 tonnes of
cardamom was produced. The high average
price (Rs 1500 per kg) has also pushed up
nursing of plantations in Idukki district,
where nearly 70 per cent of cardamom is
Agriculture officer Benny Kuriakose said
the sharp increase in prices of black pepper
and a moderate monsoon is also
encouraging growers. The total production
last season was between 45,000‐50,000
tonnes. The harvesting season will begin in
Coco is expected to have a good crop.
Growers said the monsoon was also
favourable for growing nutmeg. An official
of the Coconut Development Board told
Business Standard that production is likely
to increase.
R Anilkumar, a banana planter of Thrissur
district said there was minimal damage due
to lack of strong winds and a good crop is
expected during Onam in August.
After 45 days of ban on trawlers, the fishing
sector will be active from 1st August and
good seasonal catch is expected. Around
5,000 fishing boats are preparing for a good
Black pepper has a savory past
22 July, 2010 / Miami Herald
Black pepper was once so rare it was
considered as precious as gold and used as
currency. Known as ``King of the Spices,''
black pepper is the top‐selling spice in
Pepper was one of the reasons Christopher
Columbus sailed west in search of a new
route to the Indies. When he arrived in the
Americas instead, he found a new fruit
called aji by the natives. It was very spicy,
so he called it a pepper. What he had found
was the chili, now called the chili ``pepper.''
These days, pepper is plentiful, inexpensive
and popular for its hot, pungent flavor,
which adds zest to even the most simple
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dish. Peppercorns are native to Indonesia
and the tropical forests and equatorial
regions of India. What we refer to as
``pepper'' is actually the fruit of a climbing
vine that can grow more than 30 feet long
and is terraced much like grape vines,
producing berries that grow in grape‐like
Black, white and green peppercorns are all
products of the same plant, but the flavor is
determined by where and how the pepper
is grown, at which stage it is harvested, how
it is cleaned and processed and how it is
For black pepper, the berries are picked
when not fully ripe, then sun‐dried until
they shrivel and turn brownish‐black.
The most pungent varieties are Tellicherry
and Malabar, from India, and Lampong from
traditionally used for savory dishes, but
peppercorns are beginning to appear in
desserts. It also marries well with dark
chocolate; dried fruits such as prunes, figs
and dates; and fresh fruits such as melons,
berries, plums and pears.
For white pepper, the ripe berry is picked
and soaked so the outer layer can be
removed, leaving the dried grayish white
kernel. Compared to the black peppercorn,
the white variety is smaller, softer and
more fiery, but less flavorful.
I like to use white pepper in light‐colored
foods so the pepper is not visible. The most
common types available include Muntok,
Sarawak and Siam.
Green peppercorns are harvested when the
berries are immature, then packed in brine
or dried. They offer a fresher flavor and less
pungency than black or white pepper.
Whole peppercorns stored in an airtight
container out of direct light and dampness
will last indefinitely. Pepper loses its punch
after it's been ground, so invest in a pepper
mill and grind your own.
Carole Kotkin is manager of the Ocean Reef
Club cooking school and co‐author of
Mmmmiami: Tempting Tropical Tastes for
Home Cooks Everywhere.
Good market for Lankan spices
19 July, 2010 / Daily News
The spice industry in Sri Lanka has
performed well for the past six months.
Cinnamon in particular has recorded an
improved performance. However, the
country needs to increase the production
capacity to meet the growing world
demand. The industry seeks more support
from the Minor Exports Crops Department
as the country is unable to supply the world
demand, National Chamber of Exporters Sri
Lanka President Sarath de Silva told Daily
News Business.
“We need to promote the production of
spices such as cinnamon, pepper, cloves,
mace and nutmeg. The country faces
competition from emerging spice producing
countries such as Vietnam where it has
surpassed Sri Lanka in terms of yield per
acre. Our yields are lowest in the world and
we need to concentrate on production and
value addition,” he said.
The country needs to move away from
traditional planting areas and the Northern
area too is a potential plantation land.
The Maduru Oya West bank has been
identified as a suitable location for
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plantation and action is needed to
encourage growers.
The quality of our spices is world class.
However, processing has to be upgraded to
meet the world requirements, de Silva said.
Export of nutmeg and mace has maintained
its momentum. The prices have remained
high as Grenada, the second largest
exporter after Indonesia has not recovered
from the colossal damage caused by the
typhoon a few years back, Spices and Allied
Product Producer’s Association past
Chairman G.S. Chatoor said. Mace has
reached an unprecedented price level of Rs
2,300 a kilo in the Sri Lankan market.
The crop for 2010 appears to be good and
the country could expect a growth in the
export volumes, he said. The global spice
production for 2009 was 337,974 tonnes
whereas Sri Lanka’s production was 11,624
tonnes. The country’s contribution was 3.4
percent of world production. The global
exports were 263,851 tonnes and Sri Lanka
exported 5,155 tonnes a contribution of 1.9
Malaysia becomes second largest buyer of
Indian spices
16 July, 2010 / India Infoline
Malaysia emerged as the second largest
buyer of the Indian spices after the United
States (US) last year.Spices Board of India
in its latest report said Malaysia had
procured $95 million worth of spices from
India, about eight per cent of its total
exports in 2009.
The US topped the importers list at 16 per
cent, while other traditional buyers were
China (seven per cent), United Arab
Emirates (six per cent) and the United
Kingdom (five per cent).
A bulk of Malaysia's import was 45,545
tonnes of the Indian grown chilli,
amounting to $68 million, making it a major
buyer of the ingredient in the world. “The
mandatory quality testing of chilli and chilli
products by the Board has made Indian
chilli more acceptable in the international
markets and helped achieve this higher
level of export in it,” the Spices Board stated
in its statement.
Most of the chillies imported by Malaysia
are processed and re‐exported to other
countries and also used in the domestic
food processing industry. Other spices
imported by Malaysia were 9,177.4 tonnes
of coriander, 3, 064 tonnes of cumin and
3,951 tonnes of turmeric. Traditional
buyers of the Indian chilli such as Malaysia,
Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Indonesia were
active in the market.
High rates of spices spoil menu
11 July, 2010 / The Times of India
CHANDIGARH: Skyrocketing prices of
spices have threatened to upset the menu of
families, especially those belonging to the
middle and lower‐middle class. Compared
with that of last year, the rates have
doubled. Besides, there is no uniformity in
the rates across the Tricity.
A wholesaler in Panchkula, Shamini Kumar
Bajaj, says there has been a sharp increase
in the price. Monopoly and inadequate
supply are the reasons.
Turmeric that was Rs 60/kg last year has
touched Rs 240/kg, cardamom has jumped
from Rs 240/kg to Rs 1,000/kg, green
cardamom from Rs 800/kg to 2,000/kg,
saunf from Rs 60/kg to Rs 160/kg, kalungi
from Rs 60/kg to Rs 100/kg, pepper (long)
from Rs 200/kg to Rs 400/kg, mace from Rs
350/kg to Rs 650/kg, he cites.
A wholesaler at Sector‐26 Grain Market,
Anil Mittal, says the prices have gone up by
Shayam Bansal from Mohali says cardamom
and javantri have witnessed the maximum
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hike ‐ almost 100%. While the price of
green cardamom has jumped from Rs
1,000/kg to Rs 2,000/kg, that of cardamom
has increased from Rs 500/kg to Rs
Spice board to start two spice park in
05 July, 2010 / India Infoline
Two spice parks will be set up in Rajasthan
in the near future to augment the marketing
of its aromatic agriculture produce and
promote the spices‐related industry in the
One of them, a Rs.26‐crore venture, is
scheduled to come up in Jodhpur in March
2011. The second is to be set up in the
coriander‐rich Kota region's Ramganj
Spices Board chairman Vijay Kurien
announced the decision on the spice parks
at a high‐level meeting. The meeting,
attended by senior officials of the Union
Commerce and Industry Ministry and the
Rajasthan Government, was held to explore
the possibility of setting up projects of the
Department of Commerce. It was chaired by
Rajasthan's Additional Chief Secretary S.
It was decided to increase Rajasthan's
budget under ASIDE (Assistance to States
for Development of Export Infrastructure
and Allied Activities).
Shyam S. Agarwal, Joint Secretary, Union
Ministry of Commerce, said the budget
under ASIDE for the Government of
Rajasthan would be increased from the
existing Rs.13 crore to 25 crore.
AIIMS doctors claim turmeric can cure
26 July, 2010 / India Today
New Delhi: Good old turmeric can cure
epilepsy, too, doctors at the All India
Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) have
found. They have also found it effective in
boosting memory and reducing stress.
Research carried out on rats at the
department of pharmacology at AIIMS has
yielded positive results. " Epilepsy requires
long‐term antiepileptic drug (AED) therapy,
which is advised according to symptoms.
However an effective prevention or cure for
epilepsy hasn't been available and many
drugs in use have side‐effects," said K. H.
Reeta, assistant professor of pharmacology
According to her even new classes of AEDs
are not free of side‐effects. Phenytoin is a
commonly used AED that has been found
effective against all types of seizures. But it
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(a condition in which thinking abilities are
badly affected) in patients as it damages
essential macromolecules of the body,
including DNA.
"Toxicity is common in patients of epilepsy
treated with phenytoin, and thus requires
supportive care," said Yogendra Kumar
Gupta, head, pharmacology department,
"The goal of AED therapy is freedom from
seizure without side‐ effects. But this hasn't
been achieved. The reasons for this include
misdiagnosis of the type of seizure and
prescription of the wrong AED," Reeta said.
"Phytochemicals (chemical compounds that
occur naturally in plants) have been shown
'Curry for
to possess a wide range of properties that
facilitate effective treatment without side‐
Therefore, we investigated the effects of
administering turmeric to rats that suffered
impairment and oxidative stress (the
process in which highly reactive molecules
such as free radicals impair particular
cellular functions)," Jogender Mehla of
AIIMS said.
The research team found that turmeric,
when administered orally with phenytoin,
impairment and oxidative stress.
06 July, 2010 /
Research has found that coriander and
turmeric ‐ spices traditionally used to
flavour curries ‐ can reduce the amount of
methane produced by sheep by up to 40 per
Working a bit like an antibiotic, the spices
were found to kill the methane‐producing
''bad'' bacteria in the animal's gut while
allowing the ''good'' bacteria to flourish.
The findings are part of a study by
Newcastle University research student
Mohammad Mehedi Hasan and Dr Abdul
Shakoor Chaudhry.
Mr Hasan explained: ''Spices have long been
used safely by humans to kill bacteria and
treat a variety of ailments ‐ coriander seeds,
for example, are often prescribed for
stomach complaints while turmeric and
cloves are strong antiseptics.
''Methane is a major contributor to global
warming and the slow digestive system of
ruminant animals such as cows and sheep
makes them a key producer of the gas.
''What my research found was that certain
spices contain properties which make this
digestive process more efficient so
producing less waste ‐ in this case,
Latest figures held by Defra show that in
2009 there was an estimated 30 million
sheep in the UK each producing around 20
litres of methane a day.
As well as the environmental implications
of this, the sheep also wastes vital energy,
losing an estimated 12% of its food energy
to methane production that results in a
lower milk and meat yield.
In recent years, antibiotics were added to
feed but these were banned by the
European Union in 2006.
The Newcastle study looked at five curry
spices ‐ cumin, coriander, clove, turmeric
and cinnamon.
Each was ''ground up'' ‐ as if chewed by the
sheep ‐ and added to an in‐vitro solution
mimicking that found in the rumen of a
The level of methane released by each was
measured against a control. The most
effective was found to be coriander, which
14ml/gram of ''food'' to 8ml/g ‐ a drop of
Turmeric produced a 30 per cent reduction
and cumin 22 per cent.
Chemical analysis carried out during the
study suggests the high levels of
unsaturated fatty acids found in coriander
seeds are likely to be responsible for the
large reduction in methane gas.
Although the research was carried out
using bacteria taken from a sheep's gut,
project supervisor Dr Chaudhry said they
expected the results to be mirrored in other
ruminants such as cows and goats.
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''The rumen fluid in cows and sheep is very
similar so we would expect to see an
equally significant reduction in methane in
cattle and other ruminant animals,'' he
''With an estimated 10 million cows in the
UK, each producing around 500 litres of
methane a day, that would be a significant
Dr Chaudhry added: ''Since antibiotics were
banned, the hunt is on for new, safe, cheap
ways to reduce methane production in
''Plants like coriander are an ideal solution,
especially in parts of the world where
expensive treatments are not an option.''
The research is published in the Asian‐
Australasian Journal of Animal Sciences
Kerala all set to shed numero uno status
in Pepper
July 19, 2010 / Commodity Online
A strong undertone lies in the black pepper
market in the time to come. Pepper prices
are likely to rule firm to upward and even
can see new heights by the end of the
current season following the various
problems faced by the producing states.
Apart from the orthodox locations in
pepper production, new areas in the same
line are also upcoming in new regions of
contradictory views on the role of comexes
with a section saying they merely act as
speculators as well as gamblers which
should be regulated properly.
According to Mr. T. Vidyasagar, a Kochi
based pepper exporter, pepper production
in Kerala, leading producing state, is on
decline now and Coorg region of Karnataka
will shortly surpass Kerala in pepper
production. Quality and quantity both are
good of the new region. Pepper farming in
Coorg has started on plantation way and on
large scale basis against Kerala’s small
individual farm basis. Some diseases have
been reported in Waynad and Idukki, main
pepper producing regions of Kerala.
He added that pepper farmers have
continuously been ignored depriving them
from basic facilities like pepper washing,
infrastructures should be provided to
induce pepper growth. The ideal strategy is
to concentrate on other states like Tamil
Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Assam and other
Northeastern states instead of over
dependence on Kerala.
Kamlesh Tanna, a stockist‐cum‐exporter
and ex‐chairman of the All India Spices
Exporters’ Forum is of the view that the
pepper production in Kerala has come to a
halt as the pepper vines have become older
now and have started giving low yields.
Plantation of new vines will take at least 3‐4
years to mature for the fruits. Also, young
generation does not look keen in pepper
farming and the state is severely short of
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labour. The current lot of labours are
migrants from Orissa, Bihar, Bengal UP etc.
Speaking about the price scenario he
revealed that the pepper prices will rule
firm to upward in the months to come as
the stock pipeline is going to be dry by the
season‐ end i.e. December’10 as the stock in
the market at present is around 25,000
tonnes as against of an average domestic
consumption of 5000 tonnes a month. Still
six months to go for the new season. Prices
are likely to be around 200/225 a kg. by
December’10 as the pipeline would be dry
by that time.
Shri Manikantbhai, a Kochi based leading
pepper stockist and exporter agreed that
annual crop is about 50,000/55,000 tonnes
and consumption is around 45,000 tonnes
hence ‘we don’t have enough exportable
surplus of pepper.’ Farmers have strong
hold on the stock. Fundamentally pepper is
very strong and looks bullish after
Prices can cross Rs.180/185 a kg by
Sept/Oct.’10. He said that an estimate of
September/October. “Of course, next
season’s scenario will depend upon the
crop situation of our global counterparts
like Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Brazil
Sources:Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
CAIRO: Spices do more than add flavor to
food. They’ve long been prized for their
numerous natural health benefits. Two
spices—ginger and cumin—were the focus
of a recent study published in the Journal of
Agricultural and Food Chemistry.
Ginger is believed to ease a range of
ailments, including digestion problems,
inflammation, arthritis, migraines and
congestion, and is said to stimulate
circulation and perhaps reduce cholesterol
absorption. Cumin also is believed to play a
etc,” he added. Shri Bhaveshbhai Ved
another Kochi based pepper broker said
that Kerala’s pepper production is gradually
declining while in Coorg (K’taka) is
increasing. Prices are likely to touch Rs.200
a kg by October/November’10.
“We cannot export pepper because of price
disparity. Our prices are $3700 a tonne FOB
while our counterparts also quote the same
level in the international market. Vietnam is
leading in pepper production with
1,00,000/1,20,000 tonnes a year.”
Another Kochi based broker Virendra
Vadalia also agreed Coorg will take a lead in
pepper production in the coming days as it
produces on the large scale while in Kerala
is still in smaller farms. He added that
commodity exchanges should keep the
contract size of all the commodities small
which would help them to cover more and
more clients increasing the turnover.
Some market sources pointed out that
illegal import of low quality pepper from Sri
Lanka and Malaysia, can affect the domestic
prices. Also, Free Trade Agreements (FTA)
with other countries to reduce import
tariffs may also have adverse effect on the
pepper prices. As per the FTA, import tariffs
on pepper will be reduced from 70% to
50% over a period of 10 years.
role in digestive health, is thought to ease
cold symptoms and may have anti‐
carcinogenic properties.
For this study, researchers evaluated the
chemical and antioxidant activity of ginger
(Zingiber officinale) and cumin (Cuminum
cyminum). Cumin was found to have the
highest yield for volatile oil ( 2.52 ± 0.11%),
while the fresh ginger showed the lowest
yield (0.31 ± 0.08%). In an analysis of the
volatile oils of fresh and dried ginger,
zingiberene and pentadecanoic acid were
revealed to be major components. Major
components in the volatile oil of cumin
were cuminal, ?‐terpinene and pinocarveol.
The highest yield of nonvolatile extracts
came from the methanol extract of cumin
(4.08 ± 0.17% w/w), while the n‐hexane
extract of fresh ginger showed the lowest
yield (0.52 ± 0.03% w/w). Maximum total
phenolic contents were observed in the
methanol extract of fresh ginger (95.2 mg/g
dry extract) followed by the hexane extract
of fresh ginger (87.5 mg/g dry extract). The
hexane extract of cumin showed the lowest
total phenolic content (10.6 mg/g dry
extract). The DPPH method showed the
highest antioxidant activity for cumin
essential oil (85.44 ± 0.50%), followed by
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dried ginger essential oil (83.87 ± 0.50%)
and fresh ginger essential oil (83.03 ±
0.54%). The FRAP of essential oils showed
almost comparative results with DPPH.
Cumin essential oil was found to be most
effective in reducing Fe3+ ions, followed by
dried and fresh ginger. The researchers
concluded that ginger and cumin are viable
sources of natural antioxidants for use in
* Journal of Agricultural and Food
Chemistry: A Comparative Study on
Chemical Composition and Antioxidant
Activity of Ginger (Zingiber officinale) and
Cumin (Cuminum cyminum)
High turmeric prices encourage farmers to
shift from chilli, maize
31 July, 2010 / The Financial Express
Kochi: The over‐100% jump in turmeric
prices this year is having a cascading effect
on other cash crops with large number of
farmers in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu
switching from chilli and maize plantation
to turmeric, hoping better returns.
Intelligence Centre (AMIC) of Acharya NG
Ranga Agricultural University (ANGRAU),
acreage under turmeric has gone up by over
20% in Andhra Pradesh while farmers have
substituted tapioca with turmeric in the
Erode and Salem regions of Tamil Nadu.
According to AMIC, the market price of
turmeric would fall during the harvest
period, given the normal monsoon in the
growing areas. “Our survey with traders at
the Nizamabad and Duggirala markets in
Andhra highlights that the market price
would fall to Rs 11,000 –Rs 12,000 per
quintal at the time of harvest,” AMIC
principal investigator, P Raghu Ram, told
FE. New crop normally hits the market in
mid‐January. The March‐April period
witnesses a peak to continue through June.
According to Spices Board data, spot price
for a kilogram of turmeric at Nizambad and
Erode markets stood at Rs 171 a kg and Rs
152.60 a kg, respectively, for the week
ended July 24. Turmeric prices have more
than doubled in 2009. Prices rose by 138%
for the first eleven months of 2009. The
average price of turmeric stood at Rs 39 a
kg in January 2009 and at Rs 133.75 in June
Spices Board data show turmeric
consumption is increasing at a high rate to
stand at around 3,70,000 tonne per annum.
AMIC expected the market to ease after the
major demand season but surprisingly it
continued to be firm and bullish, said Raghu
Ram. This is owing to strong sentiments
and high demand for turmeric seeds, he
added. “Farmers are buying turmeric for
seeds in the hope of good returns. The
stocks at the Nizamabad and Duggirala
market are very low. This has pushed up
the prices further,” he said.
Good export demand amid dwindling stocks
of turmeric is aiding the firmness. Turmeric
prices have started moving up after a brief
lull over the fears that the existing
carryover stocks may not be enough, given
that new crop will hit the market only in
January, 2011.
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Interview with Spices Board Chairman
V J Kurien
23 July, 2010 / Business Standard
Given the decline in exports, the Spices
Board has decided to pump in Rs 230 crore
to double pepper production to 100,000
tonnes in a couple of years. V J Kurien,
chairman of the Board, talks of this and
other programmes in an interview with
Dilip Kumar Jha. Excerpts:
What is the reason for the fresh
investment for increasing pepper output?
The board has undertaken a crash
programme to step up production as
availability of pepper for exports has been
coming down year after year. The
programme is being executed with active
involvement of the National Horticultural
Mission and the Union agriculture ministry.
However, the intervention by the board in
promoting pepper cultivation is presently
limited to just two predominantly pepper
growing districts of Kerala, Idukki and
Wayanad, and the Northeast. The board has
sent a similar proposal for Karnataka,
which is under consideration.
Does the board have similar plans for
other spices?
Yes, if a situation like the one in pepper
occurs in any other spice, the board will
request the agriculture ministry to engage
it in production development. The
government will extend financial support,
while the board will provide advisory
services. The board has conceived a plan to
make available quality seedlings to cumin
farmers in Rajasthan. We will be setting up
a farm in Jalwarpatnam in Jhalawar district
of Rajasthan with the support of the state
horticulture department and the National
Research Centre for Seed Spices, Ajmer.
Crop development is the concern of the
departments of agriculture of state
governments and the present challenge has
been bestowed upon the board by the
agriculture ministry itself.
There is a sense that the Spices Board is
active only in spices produced largely in
the South.
No. The board has been giving importance
to almost all spices, prioritising those with
major importance in terms of value
realisation. The board has been taking up
programmes to promote cardamom
cultivation on a scientific basis in Sikkim,
development of other spices in the
Northeast in a big way, improvement of
post‐harvest programmes for seed spices in
Gujarat, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh and
chillies and turmeric in Andhra Pradesh,
Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. We deployed
officials in almost all spice growing states to
take care of the requirements. Every year,
our campaign team meets farmers and
educates them. The board set up the first
Spice Park in Chhindwara in Madhya
Pradesh. It is also setting up a chain of spice
parks in Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya
Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.
A chain of quality evaluation laboratories is
also coming up in New Delhi, Kolkata,
Kandla, Tuticorin and Chennai. We have
already established state‐of‐the‐art labs in
Guntur and Mumbai, besides the one in
Cochin, for quality checks before exports.
Farmers can also check the extent of
contamination and other residues in the
products at these labs. Decontrolled
turmeric and cumin seed prices have hit the
roof in the past, largely due to low output.
Can output be increased through the
board’s active involvement?
The prices of spices are determined by
supply‐demand forces. The price variation
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in export‐oriented spices also depends on
global availability, that is, the supply from
our competitors. When production dips, the
price goes up. The board will be willing to
take up any programme to raise production
so that quantities are available for exports.
At present, it has no plan to involve in the
production development of turmeric.
Pepper touches historic high
12 July, 2010 / Commodity Online
AHMEDABAD: Pepper again blast today in
the NCDEX future market on heavy buying
and low stocks in the market. Every day
Pepper creating a history by making a new
high. It has been continuously increasing
and hitting almost 2 percent high everyday.
Imports have been rising as domestic
supply is not sufficient to meet demand.
Two years ago, India imported 10,750 tons
of pepper in 2008‐09, data from Spices
Board showed.
India produces around 52,000 tons of
pepper annually while consumption is
around 65,000‐70,000 tons. This demand‐
supply gap is met through imports. India's
pepper imports in 2010‐11 (Apr‐Mar) are
expected to be around 20,000‐25,000 tons,
Vallabhdas Kanji Ltd.
Pepper July contract opened at Rs 18798
per quintal this morning on NCDEX. It made
a low of 18626 while high at 18968 during
trading session till 2.00 pm on Monday.
“Technically, expect Pepper to go up in next
couple of days, as momentum towards
upside is more, and there is no sign to fall in
next few days, Pepper is expected to touch
19500 level soon,” said Sudarshan Goel,
Commodity Analyst with Commodity
Kerala farmers reap dividends as crop
prices hit record high
10 July,2010 /
When Mathew P.V., a farmer in Kerala’s
Muvattupuzha town, recently had to round
up close to Rs2.5 lakh to get his younger
son into a private engineering college, he
didn’t fret like he did three years ago.
At that time, he had to pawn some gold and
take a personal loan to pay for his eldest
son’s admission into a similar course.
This year, he easily got the money selling
rubber from his three‐acre farm. His friend
and neighbour K.V. Nair is banking on
earnings from his two‐acre rubber
plantation to pay for his daughter’s
wedding in August.
The price of rubber hit a record high of
Rs181 a kg this week, rising from Rs110 in
2009, jacking up costs for several industries
such as tyre manufacturing that depend on
the commodity for raw material. The 1.1
million rubber growers in Kerala aren’t
Other plantation crops, too, are seeing steep
price increases. Cardamom prices at the
weekly auction conducted by the Spices
Board India, a government trade promotion
body, have nearly doubled from an average
of Rs800 a kg last year to Rs1,500 a kg now.
In 2008, cardamom averaged Rs500 a kg.
Pepper prices have climbed to Rs175 a kg
from Rs120 a kg last year. A rubber farmer
now earns around Rs2.7 lakh from an acre
of around 200 trees, much more profitable
than last year’s Rs1.8 lakh. For cardamom
farmers, the average annual income from a
one‐acre garden is estimated to rise to
around Rs5.6 lakh this year from Rs3.2 lakh
earlier. The average land holding for rubber
is around 5 acres and for cardamom, 4
Traders expect prices for pepper to reach
Rs200 a kg and for cardamom Rs1,700 a kg
in two months.
Kerala is the largest rubber, cardamom and
pepper producer in the country. Earnings
from the state’s plantations climbed to
around Rs12,300 crore in fiscal 2009‐10,
from Rs10,200 crore the previous fiscal, the
Kerala State Planning Board’s data show.
The plantation sector now accounts for
10% of Kerala’s gross domestic product of
Rs1.35 trillion, its highest contribution ever.
“There is certainly going to be revenue
buoyancy,” says Thomas Isaac, Kerala’s
finance minister. “Additional expenditure
by the farmers, given the income they earn
now, be it on luxury goods like cars or even
further investment in land, will also bring in
more income to the government by way of
But there’s the shadow of cyclical flips.
Isaac says the price increases are unlikely
to hold for long. The state government
plans to consult the commodity boards and
the Union government on designing
insurance schemes for when the prices fall.
This happened in the late 1990s. Rubber
prices had peaked to Rs67 a kg in 1998
before dropping to Rs24 a kg two years
later. The latest price rally began in 2008.
The Rs50,000 crore rubber consuming
industry has sought the government’s
intervention on prices.
At a hearing on Wednesday before a three‐
member panel of the commerce ministry,
industry representatives also sought
scrapping of duties for importing 200,000
tonnes of rubber and lowering duties on
overseas purchases above that level as local
production is unlikely to meet demand.
The panel, headed by Rubber Board
chairman Sajen Peter, is expected to submit
its report by 19 July.
Rajiv Budhraja, secretary‐general of the
Association (ATMA), says the government
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should have a flexible duty rate like that
introduced in China this year.
With tyre companies planning to add
capacity this year, the industry’s demand
for rubber, he says, would increase by
around 90,000 tonnes to 176,000 tonnes.
That would mean a further increase in
rubber prices if import duties aren’t eased,
especially with the Association of Natural
Rubber Producing Countries, an inter‐
governmental organization, pointing to a
tight supply. While supply of rubber in
2010 is projected at 9.367 million tonnes
(mt) globally, the industry projects a
consumption of at least 10 mt.
“With the current very comfortable price
levels, this is the ideal time to make farmers
contribute to an insurance scheme.
Years ago, the state government had made
such a proposal, but dropped the idea in the
wake of opposition from different
quarters,” says Thomas. K.K. Devassia,
secretary of the Cardamom Growers’
Association, who points out that many
farmers growing the spice were reeling
under debt until prices began improving in
“There is a strong element of cyclicality in
the price of plantation crops,” says Prabhat
Patnaik, economist and Kerala State
Planning Board vice‐chairman. “There is the
need for some government action to look at
putting to fruitful use this additional
income of farmers. The board will discuss
this with the finance department.”
Mathew, the farmer from Muvattupuzha in
Kerala’s Ernakulam district, has been
through the cycles before.
“Unlike several other farmers, I did not
spend the money on luxury items like cars. I
know of many who bought two cars and
after the price (of rubber) fell to Rs24 they
couldn’t afford to keep the vehicles. But like
most growers, I did not tend my rubber
trees for nearly two years and even tapping
of the trees was sparse,” he says. “This time,
even if the price falls, I will take care of my
trees that have paid me much. Prices can’t
remain low all the time.”
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Cinnamon for good health, say scientists
27 July, 2010 / Daily News
Inclusion of cinnamon in your daily diet
makes for a healthy life, world scientists
have confirmed. In a study conducted at the
Copenhagen University, patients given a tea
spoon of cinnamon powder along with a
table spoon of honey every morning before
breakfast had experienced notable relief
from arthritis pain.
Patients who have been exposed to such
treatment continuously for one week could
walk without any pain for one week,
cinnamon also helps blood de‐clotting and
also acts positively on diabetes.
According to the cinnamon also acts as a
natural food preservative when added to
food. Kansas University scientists found
that cinnamon could fight e‐coli bacteria in
unpasteurized juices.
Sri Lanka produces more than 90 percent of
the genuine cinnamon (Cinnamomum
zeylanicum) in the world.
The main cinnamon producing areas are
located on the coastal belt covering about
10,647 hectares from Galle, 5,477 hectares
from Matara and 1,985 hectares from
Even small farmers can benefit from
newer technologies
15 July, 2010 / The Hindu
Frequent crop failures and low agricultural
productivity are the main constraints
threatening the livelihood security of many
Indian farmers.
agricultural practices alone are more
vulnerable to such crises. Adoption of
scientific technologies in crop production is
the only available weapon in farmers' hands
to tide over such situations,” says Dr. S.J.
Ankegowda, Senior Scientist and Head,
Cardamom Research Centre, Madikeri,
Not possible
Unlike annual crops, farmers growing
perennial crops cannot frequently replace
them for new high yielding varieties as and
when new varieties are released by any
research institutes.
“The best way to increase yield in such
crops is to adopt better crop management
practices,” adds Dr. Ankegowda. Effective
scientist‐farmer interactions can build
confidence in farmers for adoption of
improved crop husbandry methods.
Adopt technologies
Mr. Numan Adil and Mr. Mahamad Iqbal,
both progressive farmers from Karnataka
strongly believe that farmers should come
forward to adopt farmer‐ friendly
technologies developed by scientists for
getting good returns from their farmlands.
Both of them inherited 80 acres of ancestral
land and mainly grow arabica and robusta
coffee varieties in 75 acres. In the
remaining five acres they grow arecanut,
black pepper and orange as an intercrop.
Coffee is planted at a spacing of 6.5 x 6.5
feet (for arabica) or 10x10 feet (robusta)
and black pepper at 15 x 15 feet.
The vines of Panniyur 1 black pepper
variety are trailed on silver oak, palwan, or
jungle trees inside the farm.
The duo have been planting black pepper in
40 acres for nearly a decade, but they could
harvest only four tonnes from the
The planters happened to attend a seminar
organized by the Cardamom Research
Centre (CRC).
Various problems
After initial interaction during the seminar,
they visited the Centre for more detailed
discussions' on various problems faced by
them. The scientists convinced them that
adoption of crop management technologies
alone can help them in increasing crop
A team of scientists made several visits to
their plantation and identified the major
bottlenecks. They prepared a plant health
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management schedule for them to be
meticulously followed.
The yield from the plantation remarkably
increased to 10 tonnes from a mere four
tonnes. During 2009‐2010, they realized a
yield of 15 tonnes.
Net profit
“We owe our success only to the scientific
package suggested by the scientists,” says
Mr. Numan Adil. “We are spending only Rs.
4 lakhs for the entire black pepper
plantation of 40 acres for adopting the
technologies and the net profit increased 3‐
4 times,” says Mr Iqbal.
“Technologies are available for successful
cultivation of any crop and a farmer needs
to only follow the scientific package for
maximizing returns" says Dr. M. N.
Venugopal, former Head of the Centre.
Always ready
“We are always available to the farming
community for any kind of scientific
discussion and the success of our farmer
brothers in Belur is not only applicable to
planters but also to small and marginal
farmers,” says Dr. Ankegowda.
Horticulture mission sets sights high
24 July, 2010 / The Times of India
LUDHIANA: District authorities have
proposed a Rs 3‐crore plan for developing
orchards here and sought funding from
department of horticulture had failed to
fully utilize the amount it received from the
NHM for the year 2008‐09. In 2009‐10, it
was able to spend Rs 1.2 crore and clear the
balance sheet. As a result, NHM authorities
have given greater responsibility to the
district department.
The mission was started in 2006 with a
motive to promote holistic growth of
orchards for fruits, vegetables, root and
tuber crops, mushrooms, spices, flowers,
aromatic plants, cashew and cocoa. Centre
provides 85% of the funding and states are
supposed to pay 15% as part of it.
District horticulture officer Harmail Singh
said NHM was attracting both small and big
"Small farmers are opting to grow
vegetables whereas big and more educated
ones are going in for floriculture. From this
year, we are also going to offer subsidy for
constructing multi‐chamber cold stores," he
added. Scheduled Caste farmers are also
getting relief from NHM amounting to Rs
5,000 per acre. Agriculturists with big
farms are also interested in horticulture.
Polyhouse nets are much sought‐after and
farmers constantly avail of subsidy for
those. To install a polyhouse, government
gives 50% subsidy on 1,000 sq mts of
netting. It helps farmers cultivate perennial
and non‐perennial fruit crops, aromatic
plants, spices, etc.
From this year, district's farmers would
also get subsidy of Rs 50,000 to nurture
banana farms. Those who are planning to
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install multi‐storage chambers to store
produce will get subsidy of Rs 2,400 per
metric tonne of cold storage capacity.
Rs. 5.28 crore for horticulture mission
29 July, 2010 / The Financial Express
TIRUCHI: Tiruchi district has been allocated
Rs.5.28 crore for implementing various
schemes under the National Horticulture
Mission during 2010‐11.
Increasing the area of coverage under
horticulture, floriculture and plantation
crops would be one of the major initiatives.
Planting and other inputs would be
provided to farmers for establishment of
new gardens of mango, banana, amla,
turmeric and other horticulture and
floriculture crops, C.A.Raman, Collector (in‐
charge), said in a release.
The inputs would be provided for raising
new gardens to the extent of 100 hectares
of mango, 50 hectares of amla, 500 hectares
of banana suckers and 150 hectares of
tissue culture banana.
Assistance to be given
Assistance would also be given for
rejuvenating 300 hectares of unproductive
mango gardens, raising chillies in about 300
hectares and turmeric in 200 hectares.
Inputs would be provided to farmers for
raising plantation crops in 100 hectares
(cashew and cocoa in 50 hectares each) and
floriculture crops (bulbous and loose
flowers in 50 hectares each), according to
Farmers raising mango would be provided
inputs worth Rs.9, 900 a hectare while
those raising amla would get inputs worth
Rs.10,500 a hectare. Banana growers would
get inputs worth Rs.16, 975 a hectare and
turmeric farmers would be given inputs
worth Rs.12,500 a hectare .
Cashew growers would also be eligible to
get inputs worth Rs.12, 000 a hectare.
Motorised farm implements including
power sprayers would be provided to
farmers at 50 per cent subsidy.
Subsidy provided
Subsidy to the tune of Rs.1.20 crore would
also be available for setting up cold
storages up to a capacity of 300
tonnes.Farmers, with own lands, are
eligible to apply for the subsidies. A family
would be extended subsidy to the extent of
four hectares.
Farmers who wish to avail the schemes can
approach the offices of the Assistant
Director of Horticulture in the district to
register their names.
Poor rainfall could harm pepper output
19 July 2010 / The Financial Express
Kochi: Inadequate rain in pepper growing
areas of Kerala and Karnataka is likely to
damage vines which may pull down
production in 2010‐11. Lowering of
moisture content in the atmosphere and
soil at this time of the year is bad for the
vines, and it could lead to shedding of
spikes and fewer formations of new spikes.
After the onset of the monsoon, spike
initiation in black pepper crop can be seen
along with the emergence of new leaf on
lateral branch within a week. “Once spike
initiation is set, there should not be any dry
spell until the berries are matured,” K
Kandiannan of Indian Institute of Spices
Research (IISR) told FE. “Extended dry
period leads to staggering of flowering and
berry maturity also gets delayed.
According to the Indian Meteorological
Centre, Thiruvanathapuram, monsoon rains
are 18% below normal in Kerala for the
period of June to July 14. Around 863 mm
rainfall was recorded during the period as
against the normal of 1,057.9 mm.
Key pepper producing regions like
Wayanad, Idukki and Kannur have received
rain way below the state’s average. Rains in
Wayanad are almost 63% less than normal
while in Kannur, it is down by 21%. Idukki
is marginally better with a shortfall of 11%.
If the dry period extends to a few more
days, spikes formed in the vines are likely
to shed and fresh spike formation will also
be delayed, farmers said.
The major pepper‐producing region of
Wayanad has not witnessed any rain for the
past one week, and if the anomaly in
distribution of monsoon extends for a
longer period, it is likely to affect pepper
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“Day‐time temperature is a worrying factor
and with less shade cover the moisture
content of the soil will drop soon,” Anand
MV, a farmer from Wayanad, told FE. Berry
initiation and elongation also depend on
cloudy and overcast sky. Many farmers
have postponed their shade cropping work
fearing an extended dry period, Anand
India's domestic pepper demand for 2009‐
10 is pegged between 45,000 and 50,000
tonne, while production in 2008‐09 was
estimated to be around 50,000 tonne.
According to projections made by the
Community, global production is expected
to rise by 3% in 2010 to 2,90,742 tonne
from 2,81,974 tonne during 2009.
Organic farming area grows to 10.5 lakh
hectares: Pawar
7 July 2010 / The Economic Times
NEW DELHI: Area under organic farming in
India has risen to 10.5 lakh hectares in last
six years. Divulging this to the
Parliamentary Consultative Committee on
agriculture here, Food and Agriculture
Minister Sharad Pawar said "In India, as
against 42,000 hectares under certified
organic farming during 2003‐04, initial
estimates for 2009‐10 indicate that organic
agriculture under certification has grown to
10.5 lakh hectares."
Out of the 10.5 lakh hectares, nearly 7.5
lakh hectares are fully certified while
remaining three lakh hectares are under
various stages of conversion, he said.
Indian organic agriculture had reached a
stage where it could play a significant role,
he said, not only in the growing domestic
market but also in global organic food
trade. The minister said that the farm
ministry was promoting organic farming in
the country through various schemes such
as National Project on Organic Farming,
National Horticulture Mission, Technology
Mission for North East and Rashtriya
Eye imaging could detect Alzheimer's
disease earlier
06 July 2010 /
The same plaques that build up in the
brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease
also accumulate in the retinas of their eyes,
new research suggests.
And this retinal plaque shows up earlier
than the cell‐damaging stuff in the brain,
meaning images of the eyes could lead to
earlier diagnosis of the disease, the
researchers say.
Abnormal brain deposits of so‐called beta‐
amyloid plaques, which damage cells and
interrupt cell‐to‐cell communications, are
considered a hallmark of Alzheimer’s.
However, because noninvasive brain‐
imaging technologies can’t yet show such
changes, the most definitive diagnosis of
Alzheimer's disease comes only after an
Alzheimer’s disease damages the brain well
before the outward mental impairment
shows up. So if doctors could catch
Alzheimer’s in this pre‐symptomatic stage,
they could start early treatments to help at
least slow the mental slide.
In the new study, scientists discovered
characteristic amyloid plaques in retinas
from deceased Alzheimer's disease patients.
The plaques were found not only in patients
who definitely had the disease, but also in
the retinas of some people who were
suspected of having early‐stage Alzheimer's
Then, the researchers genetically modified
a set of mice to develop Alzheimer’s. To
look for plaques, the team injected a
fluorescent compound called curcumin, a
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natural component of the spice turmeric,
into the mice’s bloodstream. The compound
crossed the blood‐retinal barrier and bound
to the retinal plaques, making them visible
when viewed under a microscope.
Images revealed the retinal plaques in the
mice developed at a pre‐symptomatic stage,
before the plaque appeared in the brain.
The researchers also found a correlation
between retinal and brain plaques as the
disease progressed in the mouse models.
When subjected to an immune system‐
based therapy that reduces brain plaques,
the mice showed reduced amounts of
plaque in the retinas to the same extent.
That suggests the retina could be a reliable
indicator for assessing the brain’s response
to therapy.
Together, these findings establish the
potential of direct retinal beta‐amyloid
plaque imaging in live subjects as a tool for
early Alzheimer's disease diagnosis and
prognosis, as well as assessment of
therapies, according to the study
researchers from Cedars‐Sinai Medical
Center, the Weizmann Institute of Science
in Israel and the University of Southern
Their results were published online June 13
in the journal NeuroImage, and related
findings will be presented July 13 at the
Conference on Alzheimer's Disease.
How to turn your food to medicines
29 July 2010 / Nigerian Tribune
When next you have to prepare a pot of
meat soup, you should use spices. Whether
it is the garlic, onion, curry, thyme or even
local bean seed, spices have medicinal and
culinary uses.
Since the earliest references to medicinal
and culinary plants, spices have been used
by man for the treatment of various
diseases, including cancer and digestive
problems. For instance, garlic has been
used for the treatment of digestive
disorders, infestation with worms and renal
disorders, as well as helping mothers
during difficult childbirth.
Also, studies have shown that garlic has
beneficial effects in controlling high blood
cholesterol levels in animals. A recent study
found out that raw garlic was more
beneficial than cooked garlic in reducing
blood lipids and sugar levels.
Additionally, ginger has been shown to
improve asthma and both ginger and
turmeric have been found to be helpful in
lowering blood cholesterol level. Curcumin,
an extract of turmeric, which curry powder
is largely composed of, has received lots of
modern scientific attention and its effect on
diseases and maladies is dramatic. Also
known as turmeric, curry is thought to have
including protecting against Alzheimer’s
Although in Nigeria, spices are seldom
consumed as a single flavouring, but rather
as part of complex dishes, experts found
that the benefits of combining different
spices in one’s food far outweigh the use of
single flavours.
Researchers working to determine the
effect of including mixtures of curry, garlic
and ginger powder in the diet of normal
albino rats on some blood and biochemical
parameters found that judicious use of
these spices may be beneficial in the
maintenance of weight, as evidenced by the
non significant changes in weight at all
levels of supplementation.
This was a study entitled “Dietary
Supplement containing mixture of raw
curry, garlic and ginger powder exerts both
effect.”The 2008 study carried out by
Emmanuel Ike Ugwuja; Nicholas Chukwuka
Ugwu and Augustine N. Nwibo from the
Department of Chemical Pathology, Ebonyi
State University, Abakaliki, was published
by The Internet Journal of Alternative
The researchers stated that the blood
cholesterol and sugar lowering effects of
spice mixture observed in the present study
was consistent with previous studies.
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According to them, “Although the exact
mechanism through which spices mixture
improve food intake without significantly
affecting body weight is not clear,
inadequate food/nutrient intakes and
infections have been identified as factors
Spices will do more than just enhance the
taste of beef. They may also cut down on
the risk of cancer by reducing the cancer‐
causing substances called heterocyclic
amines (HCAs) that they may contain.
HCAs are the carcinogenic compounds that
are produced when beef are barbecued,
grilled, boiled or fried. Consuming HCAs
through meat increases risk factors for
colorectal, stomach, lung, pancreatic,
mammary and prostate cancers.
Researchers studying ways of reducing
heterocyclic amines (HCAs) in red meat
found out that certain spices containing
natural antioxidants would reduce HCA
levels by 40 per cent when applied to beef
during cooking.
The spices investigated are cumin,
coriander seeds, galangal, fingerroot,
rosemary and turmeric. The last three were
found to have the highest levels of
antioxidant activity toward inhibiting the
formation of HCAs, with rosemary as the
most effective.
Consumers can take advantage of the spices
by integrating them into their cooking
regimen such spices as onions too. Its
judicious intake in daily food intake, experts
found, is very good for diabetics.
However, in order for an onion‐rich diet to
effectively support insulin production, such
a diet must be a low fat one.
The researchers pointed out in the study
published in the journal, Annual Nutrition
Metabolism, that higher dietary fat may
impair the antidiabetic effects of dietary
onion intake as has been previously
Locust bean is one common cooking
condiment that is being phased out on
tables of the educated. Hardly is this
cooking condiment given its right of place
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on the family table again despite its many
health benefits for all ages.
While the young ones need it for good eye
sight, the older ones need it to drive away
hypertension and related diseases like
stroke and diabetes. Although to many, the
fermented locust bean is merely for adding
taste, science has also corroborated its
many nutritional and medicinal values.
For example, when the entire seeds and
decorticated, fermented seeds were tried
out in rats to find out whether it actually
has any impact on controlling blood
pressure, the results obtained with both
preparations found that adequate doses of
the two helped to decrease arterial blood
pressure. In fact, the diastolic blood
pressure measurement enjoyed more
reduction than even the systolic blood
Importantly, the Dakar Medical Journal in
which the study was published, has it that
the effect of fermented locust seeds was
much more than that due to the entire
seeds in decreasing blood pressure in
hypertensive persons than in those with
normal blood pressure, meaning that
regular consumption of it can both reduce
elevated blood pressure and prevent it in
those with the medical problem.
Similarly, the possible use of fermented
locust bean seed in controlling diabetes and
cholesterol level in rats was also confirmed
by Prof. A.A. Odetola; Dr. O.A. Akinloye; C,
Egunjobi; W.A. Adekunle and A.O. Ayoola in
the latest edition of the journal, Clinical and
Physiology. Using the water and alcoholic
extracts of African locust bean on
experimental animals, they found, for
example, that a dietary supplementation
with the extract (6g per kg of the plant
extract administered orally for four weeks),
ameliorated the alloxan‐induced diabetes in
a manner comparable with that of the
reference antidiabetic drug, glibenclamide.
Water and alcoholic extracts of the
fermented locust bean elicited 69.2 per cent
and 64.4 per cent reductions, respectively
in fasting blood sugar level compared with
70.4 per cent in 0.01mg per cent 150g
glibenclamide – treated rats. Glibenclamide
is a drug for controlling blood sugar level in
diabetics. In addition, high levels of HDL,
the good cholesterol and low LDL, the bad
cholesterol, were observed in animals
treated with the water extract of locust
bean, a pattern similar to that seen in
normal control.
The scientists concluded based on the study
that while both the water and alcoholic
extracts of fermented seeds of African
locust beans exact a blood sugar lowering
effect, only its water extract can ameliorate
the loss of body weight usually associated
with diabetes. Like other herbs and spices,
the assumed health benefits of nutmeg for
everything, from stomach cramps to a cure
for the plague, have been many and varied,
but substantially unproven. Even so, there
is evidence that nutmeg does have health
benefits. Studies show that it can help to
lower blood pressure and soothe a stomach
ache as well as stop diarrhoea and, (in low
doses) help to detoxify the body. So, when
next you are cooking, remember to add
plenty of spices, whether the local ones like
fermented locust bean seed and ogiri or the
borrowed spices from other cultures like
curry and nutmeg.
preventing swine flu: MOHFW
21 July 2010 / The Times of India
LUCKNOW: Onset of the rainy season has
brought the fear of falling prey to viruses
and swine flu virus is the scariest.
The ministry of health and family welfare
(MOHFW) has advocated the use of
alternative medicine to keep flu like
symptoms away.
A media release issued by the Press
Information Bureau (PIB) said that the
department of AYUSH, the Central Council
for Research in Homeopathy (CCRH) had
convened a meeting of a Group of Experts in
Homeopathy, chaired by Dr Diwan Harish
Chand, vice‐president of the Governing
Body of the Council to suggest ways and
means of prevention of flu like illnesses
through homeopathy.
"The experts inter‐alia recommended that
the homeopathy medicine `Arsenicum
album' could be taken as prophylactic
medicine against flu like illnesses. It has
recommended `Arsenicum album' 30, one
dose (four pills of size 30 for adults and two
pills for children) daily, on empty stomach,
for three days,'' said the release. It added
that the dose should be repeated after one
month by following the same schedule in
case flu like conditions prevail in the area.
A circular issued by Union health ministry
said that most of the viral fevers including
various types of flu come under the `vaata,
kapha, jwara' category and are seen in
autumn and spring when seasons and
climatic conditions change. Ayurveda has
advised certain preventive measures for
building immunity and protecting oneself
from `vaata, kapha, jwara' diseases.
The guidelines say that: avoid `kapha'
provoking diet like curd, cold food, cold
drink, fruit juices especially citrus fruits, left
over or overnight food, ice‐cream. People
should instead drink lukewarm water as
virus is generally not able to survive
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Use of decoction (concentrate of herbal
extracts) made from a combination of tulsi,
ginger, black‐pepper, long pepper, guduchi
or giola (a herb) is recommended. Turmeric
may also be added to this combination. The
guidelines say that ayurvedic medicines like
sudershanghana vati, sudershana churna
and samshamani vati boost the body's
defence mechanism. The usage of these
herbal medicines should, however, be taken
under the guidance of a qualified ayurveda
The CCRUM has also come out with
recommendations for preventive measures
available under the Unani system after
consultation with experts. A decoction or
tea containing unnab, bahidana, sapistan
and dalchini may be taken every morning.
Specific compound formulations such as
tarboozwala, tiryaq‐e‐farooq may be taken
after consultation with a Unani doctor.
Local application of roghan baboon, roghan‐
e‐morn, roghan kahu or roghan kadu on the
scalp and chest help in saving one from
congestion. The word of caution is that they
should be used as per the advice of the
Unani doctor.
Both systems recommend light diet and
hygiene as mandatory for a healthy life. The
note underlines that the guidelines have
consideration the expert opinion received
on the subject and can be used for
increasing the immunity to fight various flu
like conditions. They may be adopted by
normal healthy persons as well as those
who have mild cold, cough or body ache.
Garden crops to meet nutrition demand
July 24, 2010 / The New Nation
The government has taken the initiative to
make the country self‐reliant in garden
crops, especially vegetables, fruits and
spices, to meet the growing demand as well
as the demand of nutrition.
Bangladesh is near self‐reliance in the
production of granular crops but a huge gap
between nutrition demand and intake
leaves around 87 percent of country's total
population suffering from nutrition
To address the shortage of vegetables and
fruits production and meeting the demand
of nutrition, the government has recently
undertaken a project titled 'integrated
standard garden development (2nd phase)
project' under the Agriculture Ministry. The
project was approved by the Executive
Committee of the National Economic
Council (ECNEC) in a meeting early this
Department of Agricultural Extension
(DAE) is the lead agency of the project
being implemented from July 2009 with
completion target in June 2014 at a cost of
Tk 194.49 crore.
Bangladesh Agriculture Research Institute
Development Corporation (BADC) and
Department of Agricultural Marketing
(DAM) will assist the DAE to successfully
implement the project.
The first phase of the project (July 2005‐
June 2008) has been completed for
protecting the interest of the farmers
through removing the seasonal limitations
of garden crops and complexities in their
marketing as well as addressing the lack of
conservation facility during the production
Talking to UNB, Agriculture Secretary CQK
Mustaq Ahmed said that the project would
have a far‐reaching outcome as the country
posses a huge potentiality of garden crops
due to its eye‐catching value addition.
He informed that the project activities
would spread these garden crops
throughout the country in a bid to become
viable."Cultivation and consumption of such
kind of crops, including horticultural crops,
would help mitigate nutrition deficiency
and thus alleviate poverty," the Agriculture
Secretary said.
The main objectives of the project include
building a Germplasm Collection for future
research through collecting local and
foreign germplasm, cultivation, evaluation
and conservation, and enhancing the
efficiency of horticulture centers through
producing standard quality cross‐breed
The project is also designed to build skilled
manpower related with the garden crops
and nursery sectors through training,
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developing a high quality marketing system
for garden crops through establishing a
sustainable link among the farmers,
businessmen, processing industries and
exporters, improve the nutrition intake
situation and thus alleviate poverty through
creating employment opportunities for
According to Agriculture Ministry sources,
DAE will impart training to some 75,600
farmers, 1,500 malis (gardeners), 3,000
urban stakeholders and 3,000 extension
staffs on nursery management, production,
post crop harvest management, stage
demonstration on some 1,600 commercial
fruit gardens, 6,300 house yards, construct
2 residential training halls, 2 non‐
residential training halls, 2 residential and
staff buildings for the officials, 11
guard/gardener sheds, 11 nursery sheds
and 22 potting sheds.
BARI will increase production of vegetables,
flowers and fruits through collecting high
quality germplasm and inventing newer
technologies, holding 5,600 training
programmes for garden farmers and
extension staffs and arranging higher
education for BARI scientists (10 PhD, 10
BADC will produce and distribute 10.50
lakh coconut saplings and 26.85 tons of
vegetables seeds, produce 369,195 metric
tons of summer vegetables, 774,385 metric
tons of winter vegetables, 231,100 metric
tons of fruits, 8.067 crore saplings of
vegetables and spices, 1.685 crore fruit
saplings, 53.55 lakh flower saplings, 39.10
lakh medicinal plants, 39.35 lakh grafting of
fruits and imparting training to some
technical and NGO staffs.
Besides, Department of Agriculture
Marketing (DAM) will form 600 marketing
teams in 12 districts comprising small
farmers, establishing four processing‐cum‐
management system among the producers,
traders and exporters, and disseminating
market related information of garden crops
through the DAM website.
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Partnership with African countries can
solve India’s food security needs
26 July, 2010 / The Financial Express
The world is vocal in unison today that
there is a gradual shift of power from West
to East; and India and China are the growth
drivers in the eastern region.
While energy security is most widely
discussed today, with this tectonic shift of
power, the debate of food security is
gaining grounds slowly and progressively.
Asia is the home to the majority of world
population. Most of its nations have young
population with economies in single digit or
early double digits growth rates. With
population getting affluent, there is a
spontaneous up‐gradation into complete
two meals – there on from coarse to fine
grain. This brings about the continuous
need for higher food grain productions and
productivity. With a growing economy led
by the services sector and industrialization
also gathering momentum, the agricultural
land bank is shrinking.
Especially in India, since there is no scope
of expansion of agricultural land, the time is
ripe to discuss and implement different
models and processes to ensure food
security in time to come.
One possible solution for India’s food
security in future could be partnership with
the African countries where there is huge
agricultural land bank which has not been
cultivated yet. Moreover, Africa is
strategically located to be relied upon.
Africa, as a continent, is geographically best
suited for India to engage in terms of our
food security. According to Food and
Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of United
Nations, Africa is estimated to have in
excess of 800 million hectares of
cultivatable land. Only 197 million hectares
are being farmed.
Moreover, the cultivable land has access to
fresh water and sea port which are the
basic ingredients for a successful farming
and to carry out the processing operations.
Besides, this is an immensely beneficial
proposition for African countries as well.
Food crisis is already a huge problem to
tackle with in the African countries.
According to Food and Agriculture
Organisation (FAO), there are 265 million
undernourished (calorie intake is less than
2980) people in Africa and the number is
increasing. India’s alliance with Africa will
be a win‐win situation for both the nations
since it will not only create employment
opportunities in Africa but also will build a
sound foundation for food security.
However, here we have to design a model
which economically as well as politically
Mushrooms used to make eco-friendly
28 July, 2010 / The Christian Science Monitor
A new product made out of agricultural
waste and mushroom roots is now showing
up in shipped products across the country.
The composite material, called Mycobond™,
requires just one‐eighth the energy to
produce and generates one‐tenth the
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carbon dioxide of traditional foam packing
Now Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
undergraduates Gavin McIntyre and Eben
Bayer are developing a new, less energy‐
intensive method to sterilize the
agricultural waste, killing spores that could
otherwise compete with the mushrooms.
Instead of steam heat, the new sterilization
method will involve cinnamon‐bark oil,
thyme oil, oregano oil and lemongrass oil.
"The biological disinfection process simply
emulates nature in that it uses compounds
that plants have evolved over centuries to
inhibit microbial growth," McIntyre said.
"The unintended result is that our
production floor smells like a pizza shop."
Here's how the green product grows: The
mycelia (vegetative part of a fungus, like a
mushroom) grow around and digest
agricultural starter material, such as cotton
seed or wood fiber in a dark environment at
room temperature. The materials are
shaped by a customized, molded plastic
structure in which they grow.
Once fully formed, each piece goes through
the sterilization process. With the new
cinnamon‐bark treatment, Bayer and
McIntyre hope the entire process can be
packaged as a kit, allowing shipping
facilities, and even homeowners, to grow
their own green packaging materials.
McIntyre and Bayer founded Ecovative
Design of Green Island, N.Y., to bring their
idea into production. Ecovative has
received funding from the National Science
Foundation (NSF), USDA Agricultural
Research Service, the Environmental
Protection Agency, and the New York State
Rajasthan to promote hybrid seeds
22 July, 2010 / The Hindu
JAIPUR: The Rajasthan Government's
Agriculture Department on Tuesday signed
an agreement with Pioneer Hybrid
International for promoting research and
development in seed production. Hybrid
seeds are going to be the focal point of the
Additional Chief Secretary (Agriculture) S.
Corporation managing director Subba Rao
signed the agreement at a simple ceremony
at Pant Krishi Bhavan here.
Mr. Ahmed said the State Government was
making all‐out efforts to support and
encourage entrepreneurs in the agriculture
sector under the agricultural marketing and
processing policy announced earlier this
Pioneer Hybrid will undertake research on
hybrid seeds and take up a campaign for
promoting them, besides apprising the
farmers of the entire process from seed
production to crop harvesting through an
awareness drive.
Mr. Ahmed said the State had already
registered an impressive production of
spices, while steps were being taken to
increase vegetable production: “The
availability of seeds of high quality
produced as a result of first‐rate research
will strengthen the agriculture sector and
immensely benefit the farmers.”
Sugarcane Seed Farm scripting success in
29 July 2010 / The New Indian Express
The Sugarcane Seed Farm in Pandalam, one
of the 11 specialised farms under the
Agriculture Department in the state, has
become a model for excellent functioning
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and for its diversified seedlings needs for
the farmers.
Established in 1963, catering to the needs
of the then Pandalam Mannam Sugar Mills,
the farm rose to the level of a full‐fledged
one, which include dairy farm, jaggery
manufacturing unit, vegetable and coconut
seedling‐producing centre, paddy seeds,
plantain and spices seedlings among others.
Located on the 26 acres of land at
Kadakkad, one km east of Pandalam, on the
side of the Harippad‐ Pathanamthitta Road,
the farm drew the attraction of farmers and
the public alike thanks to the commitment
and unique efforts by J Sajeev, the
agriculture officer incharge of the farm.
The dairy farm, which was set up four years
ago, serves the diversified needs of the
farm, from energy needs of the farm by
generating electricity to the tune of 7.5 kw
from the biogas plant, revenue from milk
sale and slurry from the biogas plant as
organic manure for the farming operations.
At present, the number of cows and the calf
in the dairy touched 27 from 11 during the
time of the establishment.
The credit for the safe and timely upkeep of
the dairy farm, which needs extreme care,
goes to Sajeev who used to come to the
farm on all the seven days, without even
availing himself of the holidays.
Sajeev, who was one of the key agricultural
officers in the successful experimental
launch of Basmati rice cultivation in Central
Travancore during 1997 to 2000, said that
dairy farm needed to be expanded in the
larger interests of increased need of cow
dung and slurry for undertaking cultivation.
The sugarcane crushing unit and t h e
seedling farm are the star attractions for
the people belonging to other neighbouring
districts of Kollam, Alappuzha and
The high quality jaggery produced and
packed here is a much‐sought food
Sajeev said that the farm produces 250
tonnes of jaggery a year and manufactures
40 tonnes for Onam season alone.
The coconut seedlings, especially the dwarf
varieties of Kuttiyadi brand, plantain and
nendran seedlings, spices seedlings,
vegetable seeds and upland paddy seeds
have already made a name across the state,
he said.
Sajeev said the earnings from the sale of
seedlings and seeds and other products
from the farm touched Rs 30 lakh during
2009‐2010 from Rs 3 lakh during 2001‐
2002 financial year. If the present sale
proceeds are any indication, the earnings
from the sale would achieve growth of 30
percent, Sajeev said. The commitment and
workforce is of great help in the smooth
running of the farm, he said. Urgent need
for additional land. The government
authorities should come to the rescue of the
farm by making available an additional 25
acres of land for the immediate needs of the
farming operations.
Since the entire area of 26 acres under the
farm are already used fully used, the
increasing demands for vegetable seeds,
coconut saplings, spices saplings here could
not be met if more land is not made
available. At a time when food security
concept is gaining momentum, the
expansion of the farm is the need of the
hour. Hence, the allotment of substantial
area of land should be needed.
Alarm over chemicals in veggies
28 July, 2010 / The Times of India
NEW DELHI: How fresh and healthy are the
vegetables that you consume daily? Not
much, according to the Union health
In a bid to make them look garden fresh and
ensure that they grow faster to reach
markets, farmers are using chemicals at
random that threaten to cause serious
health hazards to consumers.
Expressing concern, minister of state for
health Dinesh Trivedi has said, "Eating
vegetables ‐‐ a must for good health ‐‐ may
pose serious threat to health, causing
nervous breakdowns, sterility and various
neurotic complications because of their
chemical content."
In a letter to Union health secretary K
Sujatha Rao, Trivedi has called for
immediate action against farmers involved
in such unscrupulous acts.
The letter outlines that the health benefits
of consuming green vegetables as a staple
diet finds "a sharp contradiction in the
present day context". Farmers are blatantly
using hormone shots to help vegetables at a
faster rate. "These hormones may cause
irreparable damage to our health, if
consumed over a period of time," Trivedi
Oxytocin is the most commonly‐used
hormone, which was earlier primarily
prescribed for pregnant women.
However, the Schedule H drug has been
banned since then.
"The hormone can be used only on animals,
leave alone vegetables. The even more
public/authorities may also be aware of this
Oxytocin. In local parlance, it has got many
names starting from cocin and ‘paani to
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dawai', and is available at almost all the
general stores," the letter said.
Oxytocin is a mammalian hormone, which
also acts as a neurotransmitter in brain. The
hormone is used clinically to help begin or
to continue labour, to control bleeding after
delivery and to stimulate the secretion of
breast milk.
"Researchers have proved that the
indiscriminate use of Oxytocin injections by
farmers has been causing health hazards.
Oxytocin is being used by fruit and
vegetable growers, who administer it to the
plants and climbers which grow faster and
get ready for sale," warned the letter.
The injection is mainly being administered
to vegetables like pumpkin, watermelon,
brinjal, gourd and cucumber.
Trivedi also pointed to the rampant use of
chemicals like copper sulphates for
artificially colouring both fruits and
vegetables. The minister hoped that the
adverse effects of these toxins are
scrutinised and their wanton usuage
monitored and looked into immediately.
Milch cows are also administered Oxytocin
to augment production of milk.
Calcium carbide is used in fruits for
ripening, but can harm eyes and lungs,
besides causing severe irritating and
burning sensation of skin. Also, it may lead
to irritation in mouth and throat, and if
inhaled can cause both coughing and
Agriculture Department likely to launch
website to help farmers
28 July, 2010 / The Hindu
TIRUNELVELI: To take all information
available with the Department of
Agriculture to a farmer even in the remote
corner of Tamil Nadu as well as to ensure
transparency in its functioning, a website is
likely to be launched during this week.
Sources in the Department of Agriculture
said the website ‐
– will clearly explain all welfare schemes
available with the Department of
Agriculture for the farming community,
development farming programmes being
extended by both Central and State
governments with attractive subsidy, area
covered under different crops in each
district throughout the year, day‐to‐day
storage level in all major reservoirs,
everyday weather forecast for each district,
quantity of fertilizer and seeds stocked for
the ensuing crop seasons, market price of
various farm produce, list of ‘Uzhavar
Sandhais' in the State etc. .
“Since all districts have been provided with
automatic weather stations, we'll update
the weather predictions for each district on
a daily basis. And the market price for each
farm produce will enable the farmers to
ascertain the right price available in every
region of Tamil Nadu,” the sources added.
Whenever the Agricultural Officers happen
to see pest attack in the crops during their
field visits, their prescription to deal with
the pests and diseases will be hosted on the
website so that the farmers, instead of
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getting advice from the stockists of
pesticides and insecticides, can buy the
right chemical to destroy the pest and the
insects causing devastation.
Moreover, farmers will be given all
information about the methods of applying
these materials and the precautionary
measures to be taken.
Since the State government is giving major
thrust to popularise organic farming
practices and System of Rice Intensification
(SRI) technique in paddy cultivation, these
programmes would be explained in detail in
the website with successful case studies.
List of progressive farmers in every region
would be introduced to others in different
parts of Tamil Nadu, their farming
practices, their experiences with different
difficult situations etc. would also be hosted
in the website.
Pak second largest producer of buffalo
meat and milk
28 July, 2010 / The News
LAHORE: The UN Food and Agriculture
Organization (FAO) said Tuesday that
Pakistan emerged as the second largest
producer of buffalo meat, buffalo milk, and
chickpeas according to its global statistics
finalised for the year 2007.
The FAO figures ranked Pakistan as the
third largest producer of pulses and seed
cotton, fourth largest producer of goat milk,
meat, onions, and lint cotton, and fifth
largest producer of dates, spices, apricot,
dry chillies and pepper.
It is the sixth largest producer of mangoes,
wheat, okra, and sugarcane and eighth for
un‐manufactured tobacco and castor oil.
In global production of tropical fruits,
spinach and cauliflower it is ranked ninth
and 10th in pistachio, 11th in Oranges, 12th
in rice paddy, 13th in cow milk, 15th in
almond with shell and 16th in cattle meat.
Pakistan has made some progress in
agricultural production during the last four
decades but in some commodities its rank
has declined, FAO said.
For instance, the country was ninth largest
producer of wheat in 1970, seventh for
cottonseed, sixth for lint cotton, third for
buffalo meat, and 11th for spices and goat
milk. The ranking has since then increased
to sixth, third, fourth, second, fifth, and
China ranks top in production of 51
agricultural commodities that include
wheat, rice, garlic, onion, tomatoes, goat
milk, carrots and turnips.
India is the largest producer of 21
agricultural commodities, including buffalo
milk, buffalo meat, mangoes, jute, ginger,
banana and pulses.
It is the second largest producer of rice,
garlic, cotton seed, sugarcane, tea and
The statistics also reveal that as per
prevalent international rates the value of
buffalo milk alone is higher than the
combined value of four major crops ‐ wheat,
rice, sugarcane and cotton.
FAO statistics show that in 2007 the value
of buffalo milk produced in Pakistan was
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$966 billion, wheat $3.36 billion, lint cotton
$2.94 billion, rice $1.71 billion, and
sugarcane $1.23.
NDDB gears up for 2nd White Revolution
16 July, 2010 / The Times of India
Anand: Fourteen years after Operation
Flood (OF) that turned India into world’s
largest milk producer, the country is set to
take another big leap through a second milk
Development Board (NDDB) is all set to
usher in country’s second White Revolution
through National Dairy Plan (NDP) that
aims to double India’s milk production.
To execute this plan with financial outlay
of Rs 17,300 crore, the national board has
not only formed a special purpose vehicle ‐
NDDB Dairy Services ‐ but also decided to
kick off its first phase from April 2011 with
financial outlay of Rs 16,000 crore.
With an outlay almost 10 times more than
OF, NDP like OF will be implemented by
NDDB as a multi‐state initiative in phases
with assistance largely from World Bank.
Spread over a span of 26 years, OF initiated
by Father of White Revolution Dr Verghese
Kurien as the ‘billion‐litre idea’ in July 1970,
had financial outlay of Rs 1,750 crore.
“Though India’s milk production is
growing at an impressive four per cent
growth rate, which in fact is double the pace
of world’s milk production, the average
annual incremental production is 2.5
million tonnes, hich has to increase to five
million tonnes to meet the projected
demand of 180 million tonnes by 2020‐21.
NDP is proposed to increase country’s milk
production from current 108 million tonnes
to meet this projected demand,” said NDDB
chairman Amrita Patel here on Thursday,
adding that NDP’s first phase will continue
till March 2017.
Government of India’s (GoI) department
of animal husbandry and dairying has
consultations with 14 major dairying states,
which currently count for over 90 per cent
of India’s milk production, on initiatives to
launch a scientifically planned programme
to increase bovine productivity and milk
secretaries in charge of animal husbandry
and dairying, managing directors of state
co‐operative dairy federations, senior
officials from NDDB and World Bank (WB)
representatives have also participated in
the deliberations.
A soft loan, repayable over 35 years, is
being proposed for funding activities
related to increasing bovine productivity,
expanding coverage of milk producers and
development for NDP spread over a span of
15 years. While all the 14 states ‐‐ Andhra
Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat, Haryana,
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Institution award
July 17, 2010 / The Hindu
New Delhi: The Indian Institute of Spices
Research (IISR), Calicut, a prestigious
institute under Indian Council of
Agricultural Research (ICAR), has been
presented with the prestigious Sardar Patel
Outstanding ICAR Institution Award for the
year 2009.
IISR Director
Sharad Pawar,
Union Minister
for Agriculture,
ICAR Foundation Day and Award Ceremony
held at NASC Complex, New Delhi on Friday.
The Sardar Patel award is given annually to
two ICAR Institutes and one State
Agricultural University (SAU) for the best
performance in agricultural research,
extension and education. This year IISR is
sharing the award with CARI, Port Blair.
“The award is in recognition to our
contribution in five major areas like
conservation of largest germplasm and
microbial collection in the world, good
agricultural practices, application of GIS in
spice biodiversity, introduction of office
automation software and excellent transfer
of technologies,” said Dr. Parthasarathy
after receiving the award.
“Our next priority would be contributing
carbon credit
usage of paper
for office use,
farming etc.,”
he added.
This is the
second time IISR is being adjudged as the
best ICAR institution. The Institute has
bagged this coveted award in the year 1999
instituted by the Council in the name of
Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. The award
includes a cash prize and a citation.
Prof. K. V. Thomas, Minister of State for
Agriculture, Dr. M. S. Swaminathan,
Member of Parliament, Dr. S. Ayyappan,
Secretary DARE and DG, ICAR and other
senior ICAR officials were also present.
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Malayala Manorama/12 July 2010
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